ArcelorMittal vows no more job cuts till June: EU
ArcelorMittal on Tuesday pledged to suspend closures and job cuts in Europe pending the launch of a pan-Europe plan in June to save the struggling steel industry, the European Commission said Tuesday.
- Published: 20/02/2013 at 12:43 AM
- Newspaper section: news
An ArcelorMittal worker holds a flare among other ArcelorMittal workers during a demonstration called by French CGT trade union on February 13, 2013 in Metz, eastern France. ArcelorMittal on Tuesday pledged to suspend closures and job cuts in Europe pending the launch of a pan-Europe plan in June to save the industry.
EU Industry Commissioner Antonio Tajani quoted a letter from the global steel giant as saying "there will be no more cuts" at its plants in Europe that employ 98,000 people until the launch of the plan.
In its own statement, ArcelorMittal confirmed "that no new restructuring plan is envisaged other than what is already announced and being implemented."
"In the event that the European situation further deteriorates we would engage with the European Commission," it added, without elaborating.
ArcelorMittal said it looked forward to contributing toward the June plan since Europe needed an "ambitious and effective" way forward to cope with a massive 30 percent fall in steel demand since 2007.
The EU executive last week asked ArcelorMittal to suspend the closure of several sites pending the plan but the company had initially declined.
The steel group's recent decisions to shutter plants in Belgium, Luxembourg and France triggered violent protests as well as moves by EU nations to band together to save an industry that was at the heart of the creation of the bloc.
"There is no Europe without steel," Tajani said.
He said ArcelorMittal had pledged to keep the French site of Florange and the Belgian site of Liege open but would cut back capacity.
At the same time, the company agreed to invest 180 million euros in the French site and 140 million euros in Belgium to produce cutting edge products for the auto and packaging sector.
It also said workers who were made redundant would be given jobs at other plants in Belgium and France.
Earlier this month, ArcelorMittal reported a massive net loss of $3.72 billion (2.75 billion euros) for 2012, largely due to costs related to Europe but said closing plants and other restructuring efforts would be enough to support a rebound this year.
"2012 was a very difficult year for the steel industry, particularly in Europe where demand for steel fell a further 8.8 percent," chief executive Lakshmi Mittal said at the announcement.
Tajani has said steel-making must be maintained in Europe not only to save jobs but also to contribute to the green economy in sectors such as clean energy vehicles, renewable energy and recycling facilities.
The steel industry accounts for some 360,000 jobs at about 500 plants in the EU but production slumped from 22 percent of world output to 12 percent between 2001 and 2011.
ArcelorMittal had found itself embroiled in controversy in France over the closure of blast furnaces at Florange. In Luxembourg it has temporarily closed a blast furnace at Schifflange and cut production at Rodange.
ArcelorMittal is the leading supplier of steel products in all major markets including automotive, construction, household appliances and packaging. It operates in 60 countries and employs about 260,000 people worldwide.
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- Writer: AFP
- Position: News agency